There are a lot of habits that go into getting a good night’s sleep. Some of the more popular ones are
- Making your room as dark as possible
- Making your room cool and comfortable
- Limiting light exposure (TV, cell phone, computer) before bed
- Don’t do anything stressful leading up to bed
- Don’t eat too close to bed
- Don’t drink alcohol too close to bed
- Avoid caffeine after noon
The one habit that I find people often overlook when it comes to sleep is having a consistent sleep and wake time.
Many people short change themselves on sleep during the week, going to bed later and waking earlier, and then try to make up for it during the weekend.
Other people do the opposite and are very consistent during the week and then stay out late on the weekends.
This pattern of changing your sleep/wake time is called “social jet lag” because it has similar effects on the body as flying to a new timezone.
One study found that inconsistent sleep patterns were associated with greater alcohol consumption, poorer dietary quality, less physical activity, more sitting, and greater sleep insufficiency. In other words inconsistent sleep patterns are bad news for your health.
If you are struggling with your sleep and doing everything you can to get a good night’s sleep but have random sleep/wake times throughout the week try being consistent for a month or two. Set an alarm to go to bed and wake up at a designated time.
DO IT 7 DAYS A WEEK!
If you are trying to decide when the best time to go to bed and wake up is, use the sunset and sunrise as your guide. Try to go to bed within an hour of the sun setting and waking up within an hour of it rising. This is what humans have evolved doing for 100’s of thousands of years and what your body expects.
Are you struggling with sleep?
Is it affecting your health and training?
Sleep is just one of many other lifestyle factors that play into your overall health and performance as an athlete. Each week I put our FREE actionable information on how following an ancestral approach to life helps improve health and athletic performance. Sign up for my newsletter if you want to learn how you can use a lifestyle that better aligns with our evolutionary history to achieve and overcome your most challenging goals.
- (2015, October 20). Greater bed- and wake-time variability is associated … – NCBI. Retrieved September 1, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4836438/ ↑